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2011.12.01 - Interview with Dizzy -

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2011.12.01 - Interview with Dizzy - Empty 2011.12.01 - Interview with Dizzy -

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:11 pm

Nothing epitomizes the push-pull dynamic of being a Guns N’ Roses (GNR) fan more than the opening lyrics of “Estranged” (from the 1991 album “Use Your Illusion II”): “When you’re talkin’ to yourself/And nobody’s home/You can fool yourself.”

The good news is the current lineup of GNR, which comes to Covelli Centre on Wednesday, is playing that tune.

The bad news is, in many ways singer Axl Rose has been fooling himself for the past decade and a half thinking his hard-rock vocals — not Slash’s raunchy guitar or Izzy Stradlin’s keen song-writing or bassist Duff McKagan’s, um, shenanigans (he once passed out in an elevator) — were solely responsible for turning GNR into the biggest hard-rock act in the world in its heyday.

The train derailment that became GNR shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After the success of its platinum debut, “Appetite For Destruction,” here’s a band that took nearly four years to record a sophomore effort, which grew into two albums in the form of 1991’s “Use Your Illusion” records.

Aside from Rose, the only other person to straddle the old and new GNR is keyboardist Dizzy Reed. The Vindicator talked to Reed, in Cleveland of all places (where the band had a stopover but no show was booked) about “Chinese Democracy,” the current tour and his friendship with Rose.

Q. Considering your hotel is literally a mile away from the Rock Hall, what are your thoughts on GNR’s chances of being a first-ballot inductee?

A. No one has said anything to me about it. I’ve just heard about it because people have asked me about it. Of course it would be an honor because of the other people that are there. I don’t know anything about the whole process and how it’s going down.

Q. Does GNR belong in the Rock Hall?

A. Sure, yeah, why not?

Q. Also, speaking of Cleveland, the last time GNR was in the Rock Hall City, Axl — after not taking the stage until well after midnight — famously fired opening band Eagles of Death Metal while on stage.

A. I sort of block that one out.

Q. As for the band’s current tour, what are the set times like? Any late-night starts?

A. I haven’t been to a concert in so long I don’t know when the normal time is, but we’ve been starting not late, and we give a pretty long show. It’s a good three hours of rock ’n’ roll. That’s how it’s been going down. But we’ve been going on stage on time.

Q. From this reviewer’s standpoint, despite the hype surrounding “Chinese Democracy,” the album is pretty solid and definitely didn’t leave fans with the same underwhelmed feeling they experience when listening to new material from ’80s rock acts. Was there ever a point when you felt the project wouldn’t see the day of light?

A. Certainly there was a lot of disappointing moments with setbacks, but I never really gave up on it. I always thought it had to [be released]. It was too good.

Q. What “Chinese Democracy” tracks stand out in the current set?

A. All the ones we’ve been doing seem to have been working really well. I like playing “Street of Dreams.” It’s a treat for me to come out and play the piano. And I like some of the heavier stuff; it’s fun to play those. They seem to go over really well like “Shackler’s Revenge.” Sometimes it’s fun to do the heavier stuff.

Q. Something that does stand out from a set-list perspective is the epic “Estranged.” What’s it like to play that song again?

A. It’s kind of a beast for me, and for everybody, but it’s such a great song. At the end of the song, you look out and people seem really appreciative to hear that again, so that’s been very cool. When we first started playing that way back when, before even “Use Your Illusion” albums were out, it was almost kind of the opposite; people were scratching their head going, “What the hell?” But so many years later, they seem really into it and seem to really appreciate that we’re doing that song. It’s a lot of fun to play now.

Q. There are some fans that feel it won’t truly be GNR until the original lineup is back in the fold.

A. I’d say pooh-y. I can’t comment on that.

Q. How are the two eras of GNR connected?

A. To me, they’re connected because I’ve been around for the whole thing. Someone quit, and we brought in somebody else. And that kept happening, so I guess the main thing that links everything together really is the guy singing, Axl. He has that kind of voice; that’s what does it.

Q. As for Axl, his image in the media is as a megalomaniac among other things. Are these accurate portrayals?

A. I think most of it is cruel and malicious and unnecessary. I don’t think he’s like that at all. He’s a good friend. He’s like a brother.

Q. So why have you lasted with GNR after so many haven’t?

A. I’m just a determined [expletive]. I’m a loyal friend and a determined [expletive].

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